As a film fan, it is always heartening to know that great cinema is being protected. The great, lost films of history are a real sticking point for any connoisseur of the art form, so this is why I love The National Film Preservation Board so much.
The organisation has made its annual selection of 25 films to join the National Film Registry, with prints to be housed and preserved in the Library of Congress, recognised forever as important works of American film.
It sounds, to say the least, like an unlikely mix – a young Swedish filmmaker, a cast of South African music geeks, and an obscure Detroit singer-songwriter of Mexican descent. But that's not the half of it, because this acclaimed documentary tells a tale that absolutely boggles the mind. It's like The Truman Show with acoustic guitars.
I'm not from round these parts and, I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about Status Quo. I wasn’t even sure if I knew any of their songs or what they looked like. I was vaguely aware of their existence and was pretty sure they were a rock band and that’s all I had going in to this. Coming out? I definitely know who Status Quo are and nearly everything about them and that’s the issue I had with this documentary. For a diehard fan this is a treasure trove of interviews, facts, anecdotes and anything you would ever want to know about the band and their long history together. For the uninitiated it drags on too long, from their early beginnings right up to the present day. It clocks in at over 150 minutes and by the end of it I was just pleased it had finished.
Samsara is a Sanskrit word seen in various Asian religions referring to the perpetual cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Through glorious 70mm film, Fricke transports his camera far and wide to find the connections, sometimes abstract and sometimes less so, that link humanity and its life cycle to that of the natural world.
Fifteen to twenty years ago there was a music news show on the BBC called the Ozone. One episode featured an interview with Bjork where she confessed to having a huge crush on David Attenborough from listening to his voice on nature documentaries. Awww, that's sweet isn't it?
NO! It's not. Fast forward to 2012 and that innocent crush has developed into a worrying obsession.
Lost at the Multiplex had the good fortune to be part of a roundtable with Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez, director and star of the feature length documentary Searching for Sugar Man. Scooping up awards all around the world (including the Sundance People’s Choice) Bendjelloul’s feature debut follows the story of a 1970s Detroit musician simply known as Rodriguez and the impact of his two albums on white liberal South Africans of the Apartheid era. Bendjelloul is a slim Swede full of nervous, happy energy and he makes an interesting contrast with the star of his film. Dressed in a tuxedo suit without a neck tie, Rodriguez pushed his ever present sunglasses up into his dark hair and was as enthusiastic as Bendjelloul for the documentary about his life and 'death.'
She only gained public attention four years ago with the smash hit "I Kissed A Girl”, but, aided by her glitzy persona, Katy Perry has come to dominate the pop world with two highly successful albums and has made history with five number one singles from the same studio album - a first for a female artist. Now she has a film on her hands and a touching one at that.
The BFI Southbank recently held a screening and Q&A for Searching for Sugar Man, with the film’s affable director Malik Bendjelloul present together with the subject of the feature length documentary, the Detroit musician Rodriguez. Total Film’s deputy editor Jamie Graham hosted the event and introduced Bendjelloul as a director who has worked on short films with musicians such as Rod Stewart and Sting. Paraphrasing, Graham noted that Bendjelloul had asserted that if a story couldn’t be told in ten minutes then it wasn’t worth telling. This is Bendjelloul’s first feature length film, however, and when asked if it seemed like an immediate ‘no brainer’ that this story needed to be a feature Bendjelloul simply answered with a smiling ‘Yes.’
Nicholas Barclay was 13 years old when he disappeared on the 13th of June, 1994. Three years of agony and confusion pass the Barclay family by, until 1997, when the Barclays were told Nicholas had been found. In Spain.
Reunited with Nicholas, the family are initially relieved but they soon notice the cracks in this happy ending. Nicholas' eyes were now a different colour and he spoke with a clear French accent. It becomes clear that the person living under their roof is not all he seemed.